Wonder – R. J. Palacio

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Author: R. J. Palacio
Genre: Childrens, Young Adult
Pages: 315
Published January 3rd 2013 by Corgi Childrens
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening Line:

“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

You know those books that sit on your TBR pile for months on end that you really want to read but keep forgetting to read? This is one of those books. I bought it ages ago but kept forgetting I had it. Then I was looking for some colourful books to include in a photo on my bookstagram when I ended up finding this. In that moment, I knew it would be the next book I read.

I definitely judged this book by its cover, which I guess is appropriate due to the nature of the story being about people’s perception of the way other people look, and how we are quick to judge others by their appearance.

The illustration on the front made me think that this book would be able a boy with no face. I took the illustration quite literally. The blurb leaves us with a lot to think about in terms of what the story is actually going to involve. All we know is, there’s a boy and he looks different somehow. His looks play an important role, I just didn’t realise in what way.

The book starts by being narrated by August, and I remember how I imagined the character and how this image changed and developed along with the book. It is so well written, it made me consider how I was perceiving August as I found out more about him.

The chapters are short, and each of them have their own title. I love it when books have titled chapters as opposed to being numbered. One thing I didn’t expect was for the story to end up being told from different perspectives. We get August’s sister’s perspective, and we get the perspective of the people around him. The clever thing about this is that our opinion of each character forms through August’s perception of them, but then when we get their side, it alters how we feel about them and I think that sends a clear message to us as people and as readers of the book.

The story is easy to grasp, but it tackles some serious issues. It reads well, and is funny at the same time as being very moving and thought-provoking. I struggled to get into it at first because of it being written for a younger audience. But that’s my fault for being in my twenties! The narrative moved at a steady pace and at one point I was wondering where it was going, and I think I was waiting for some really intense dramatic scene, but then I realised I didn’t need one. The emotionally significant moments are written subtly and get better towards the end.

If you read my reviews regularly you’ll know that it takes a lot for a book to make me cry. Well…the final few chapters of this book really got me. I didn’t burst into tears, but I did have a watery eye, and that means this book is incredible when it comes to making you feel attached to a character, so much that you cry with happiness at the end.

It is hopeful and is packed full of life lessons. If you haven’t read this book, then I don’t care how old you are, read it. August is a wonderful character and so are the ones around him. This is a book I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

Link to the book on Goodreads:

Wonder

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